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date: 12 April 2024

Charles Darwin 1809–82
English natural historian 

  1. Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.
    The Descent of Man (1871) introduction
  2. Disinterested love for all living creatures, the most noble attribute of man.
    The Descent of Man (1871) ch. 3
  3. The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.
    The Descent of Man (1871) ch. 4
  4. If everyone were cast in the same mould, there would be no such thing as beauty.
    The Descent of Man (1871) ch. 19
  5. False views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for everyone takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness.
    The Descent of Man (1871) ch. 21
  6. A hairy quadruped, furnished with a tail and pointed ears, probably arboreal in its habits.
    on man's probable ancestors
    The Descent of Man (1871) ch. 21
  7. Man with all his noble qualities…still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.
    The Descent of Man (1871), closing words
  8. Worms have played a more important part in the history of the world than most persons would at first suppose.
    The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms (1881)
  9. I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term of Natural Selection.
    On the Origin of Species (1859) ch. 3
  10. We will now discuss in a little more detail the Struggle for Existence.
    On the Origin of Species (1859) ch. 3
  11. The expression often used by Mr Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate [than ‘Struggle for Existence’], and is sometimes equally convenient.
    On the Origin of Species (1869 ed.) ch. 3; see Spencer
  12. From the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows.
    On the Origin of Species (1859) ch. 3
  13. There is grandeur in this view of life.
    On the Origin of Species (1859) ch. 14
  14. From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
    On the Origin of Species (1859) ch. 14
  15. Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.
    The Origin of Species (6th ed.,1872)
  16. What a book a devil's chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low, and horridly cruel works of nature!
    letter to J. D. Hooker, 13 July 1856, in Correspondence of Charles Darwin vol. 6 (1990)
  17. I feel like an old warhorse at the sound of a trumpet when I read about the capturing of rare beetles.
    letter to John Lubbock, before 1857, Francis Darwin The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin (1887) vol. 2
  18. Much love much trial, but what an utter desert is life without love.
    letter to Joseph Hooker, 27 November 1863
  19. Though I am a strong advocate for free thought on all subjects, yet it appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity and theism produce hardly any effect on the public; and freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds, which follows from the advance of science. It has, therefore, always been my object to avoid writing on religion, and I have confined myself to science.
    refusing permission for Edward B. Aveling to dedicate The Students' Darwin to him; following Aveling's own publication of the letter in 1897, it is sometimes incorrectly reported as a response to a request from Karl Marx to dedicate Das Kapital to Darwin
    letter to Edward B. Aveling, 13 October 1880; in L. Feuer ‘Is the Darwin–Marx Correspondence Authentic?’ in Annals of Science vol. 32, 1975
  20. Animals, whom we have made our slaves, we do not like to consider our equal.
    Notebook B (1837–8) in P. H. Barrett et al. (eds.) Charles Darwin's Notebooks 1836–1844 (1987)
  21. He who understands baboon [will] would do more towards metaphysics than Locke.
    Notebook M (16 August 1838) in P. H. Barrett et al. (eds.) Charles Darwin's Notebooks 1836–1844 (1987)
  22. With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.
    Francis Darwin (ed.) The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin (1887) ch. 3